Faculty and Staff Directory
Gail S. Prins, Ph.D.Michael Reese Professor
I have over 30 years of experience in prostate biology and prostate cancer research with expertise in hormone actions in the prostate gland. My research focus is the molecular biology of prostate gland development, hormonal carcinogenesis, reprogramming by early-life estrogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and the developmental basis for prostate disease with aging. My work has established that early life exposures to natural estrogens or EDCs, e.g. bisphenol A, permanently reprogram the prostate and increase its susceptibility to cancer with aging. With colleagues, we have identified the molecular basis for altered prostate memory which includes epigenetic reprogramming of prostate stem cells.
My laboratory is currently utilizing novel models with human embryonic stem cells and human prostate stem/progenitor cells to dissect estrogen and EDC reprogramming in derived human tissues. Ongoing studies are focused on 1) regulation of human prostate stem cell growth and differentiation by steroids and EDCs, 2) steroid receptor action in the developing and cancerous prostate, 3) morphoregulatory genes downstream of steroid action in the developing prostate, 4) developmental estrogen imprinting of the prostate (developmental estrogenization), 5) carcinogenic actions of inorganic arsenic in the prostate gland by altering prostate stem-progenitor cells homeostasis through autophagy flux blockade, and 6) epigenetic reprogramming of DNA methylation patterns and chromatin marks as a function of neonatal estrogens or chronic inorganic arsenic exposures. The laboratory employs molecular, cellular and histologic approaches using animal models, organ cultures, cell cultures and prostasphere models with animal and human prostate cells.
Clinical and Research Interests:
Prostate development and early-life reprogramming by hormones and endocrine disrupting chemicals
Prostate stem cells
Awards and Honors:
2014: Distinguished Andrologist Award, American Society of Andrology
2011: Researcher of the Year Award, Basic Life Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
2009: Award for excellence in urologic research, Society for Basic Urologic Research
2001: Distinguished service award, American Society of Andrology